Instagram is testing a system to verify the age of users

Deepak Gupta June 23, 2022
Updated 2022/06/23 at 10:17 PM

Despite the age restrictions that social networks impose, the truth is they receive users well below that range. Aware of this and the danger associated with it, Instagram is testing a new tool.

The social network is experimenting with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system to verify the age of users through face analysis.

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When creating an account on any social network, despite the age restriction, there is no mechanism to confirm the information that the future user is providing. Therefore, there are users who, by the rules, should not be. In the case of Instagram, although the minimum age is 13 years old, the company has never made any effort to enforce this rule.

To address this issue, after coming under scrutiny from privacy and child safety experts, Instagram is testing ways to verify the age of users, ensuring that “teens and adults are in the right experience for their age group.” An example of this is an AI tool built by a company called Yotiwhich estimates a person's age by scanning their face.

Instagram age verification

Age estimation measured by the Yoti system, through the user's face.

This technology is already used by the British and German government and, according to co-founder Yoti Robin Tombs, has been trained on hundreds of thousands of images. Through an AI system that recognizes people's age, without recognizing their identity, Instagram will request a video with the person's face and share it with Yoti.

Yoti's technology estimates your age based on your facial features and shares that estimate with us. Meta and Yoti then erase the image.

Clarified Instagram, in a Publication.

In addition, it guarantees that this verification serves, and will serve in more countries in the future, to “prevent teenagers from accessing meetings, from adults sending messages to teenagers and helping teenagers not to receive restricted advertising content, for example” .

Although not present in Portugal, you can test the reliability of Yoti's AI system itself, here.

In addition to this system, Instagram is testing yet another novelty: "Social Vouching". This will allow users to choose three followers to, within three days, confirm their age. Those chosen cannot be confirming anyone else's age at the time they are selected.

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